Generating power here
I’ve never seen so many workers up on power poles at the same time across so many lanes of traffic. And on a Sunday yet. And this is going on all over Panama City.
Gulf Power is trying hard to restore power to all areas of Panama City and larger Bay County by October 24th, two weeks after Hurricane Michael ploughed through here. That’s tomorrow. Fingers crossed.
Meanwhile, in a sweet moment yesterday on a bumper-to-bumper highway, three state troopers were standing around keeping an eye on things. Someone in a car ahead of me reached out and handed them a big bag of sandwiches.
They dug right in. Power, indeed.
When I got here from L.A. four days ago, I started playing Pandora’s ‘70s rock station while driving around in my rental car. That is, when I can get a signal. I decided on ’70s tunes to evoke my pre-teen years here. They feel right.
Like yesterday, on the way to my parents’ house from my AirBnB condo on the beach in heavy traffic. Cat Stephens’ Oh, baby, baby, it’s a wild world couldn’t have been more perfect.
My brother’s family is staying with me after getting most of their stuff out of their damaged apartment. My mother is recovering from some awful surgery and feels too weak to move. So I’m taking hot meals to my parents daily.
In a bizarre twist, Panama City Beach is the only nearby municipality with power. I found a place there before I left L.A., thinking my parents would come stay with me, too. But they won’t leave their home. And I get it.
After several hours with them yesterday, James Taylor’s Shower the People kicked in just as I pulled out onto their ravaged street again. It got me past the shock my dad and I feel every time we open his garage door to the ruin around us.
I give him his own private daily pep talk then as we stand next to my car. Shower the People is definitely what I’m doing here.
And on the important subject of cell service after a weather disaster, kudos to my iPhone. I’m faring better than folks with other devices.
I’m sending and receiving texts using weak cell signals and WiFi. I’m using Google and Google maps. And a shout-out to the carrier that’s sharing its tower with Sprint. I hear they have at least two towers with heavy damage.
We’re managing a routine of sorts while waiting for power, insurance adjusters, and more ease of movement. That’s both indoors at my parents’ place, where extension cords to the generator and all around the ground floor are exactly as I imagined them while sleepless in Los Angeles—with my mom on a walker and my dad using a cane—and outdoors.
Imagine downed trees, mountains of debris, and suspicious-looking cables as thick as your ankle stretched out across the roads. Hordes of workers with orange cones parked all around their heavy-duty vehicles.
And a news flash: yesterday I saw a convoy of FEMA trucks roll into town with “Potable Water” emblazened on them in block letters as tall as a man. Their presence is growing.
Fueled by gratitude
Lastly for now, thank you again! to everyone who has helped us. Now that the shock of it all has worn off a bit, I’ve starting telling my parents how I got here this time. All the aid we received. They get wide-eyed and quiet while I get choked up.
The three of us are feeling so much together, with gratitude the saving grace on the list. I’ll update you again soon.
Teresa Young wants you living your dream, for real. She coaches by phone, in person in Los Angeles, and via Skype outside the U.S.